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Life in, out of, or days after the womb? Options
Taliesin ap Elphin
Posted: Tuesday, July 17, 2012 9:28:27 AM
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I'm just curious to see what you all think about this. I was reading an article that stated that scientists are beginning to say that a newborn baby is no different than a fetus, because it cannot truly think yet. So, from that perspective, a person would feel guilt-free of "aborting" that newborn. That made me curious as to what you all believed. When do you think life begins?
pedro
Posted: Tuesday, July 17, 2012 9:41:04 AM
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Perhaps the relevant question is whether or not a fetus can feel pain. Life is an organic process rather than a program.
Weirdo101
Posted: Friday, February 15, 2013 9:19:13 PM
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I'm with Pedro on this one.
Tovarish
Posted: Friday, February 15, 2013 9:22:15 PM
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Breathing independantly of her/his mother.

Luftmarque
Posted: Saturday, February 16, 2013 9:48:17 AM

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Taliesin ap Elphin wrote:
I'm just curious to see what you all think about this. I was reading an article that stated that scientists are beginning to say that a newborn baby is no different than a fetus, because it cannot truly think yet. So, from that perspective, a person would feel guilt-free of "aborting" that newborn. That made me curious as to what you all believed. When do you think life begins?

Please provide link to the article.
Hope2
Posted: Saturday, February 16, 2013 2:01:18 PM

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Life begins at conception. It is a no brainer. The beginning is the beginning. It is a fetus/baby then.

Whether or not having an abortion is guilt-free has nothing to do with the age or status of the fetus/baby. It has to do with the mother's circumstances.

That is - what her options are. When this idea is accepted, we will no longer be discussing abortion.

We will let her, the male involved, and her doctor decide, hopefully very early on in the pregnancy. And the reasons would have to be very good.

I suspect there is never a 'guilt free' abortion.

Luftmarque
Posted: Saturday, February 16, 2013 4:12:07 PM

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In one sense, life "begins" around four billion years ago in some warm inland sea and then continues in unbroken threads leading to every individual of every species now alive. But that's not the sense used in the abortion debates. What is actually meant, in my not so humble opinion, is "when does personhood begin?" And personhood is not a biological, or even a scientific concept—it's a legal/philosophical/religious one. So there cannot be, in principle, any scientific test to "answer once and for all" the best approach to abortion law.

We typically confer personhood on a human in stages, and some rights accorded to persons are reserved until "maturity": e.g. voting, driving, drinking, marrying. Thus, personhood is not a binary quality, it's a continuum, with one end in "definitely not a person" and the other in "certainly is a person." Some adults lose some or all or their personhood rights, e.g. criminals and people with enough brain damage to no longer be able to make decisions in their own best interest. At one end of the abortion debate, some state legislators wish to grant a fertilized egg all the rights accorded to citizens of the state by the US Constitution, including property rights. I think that's just plain silly.

I sometimes get the impression that anti-abortion advocates of a religious bent have a picture of the universe that involves some sort of "soul warehouse" from which God plucks a unique pre-existing individual and adds it to a fertilized egg, thus immediately conferring personhood. This I find unconvincing.

As with everything in life other than comic books and action movies, clashes are never between one all-good side and another all-evil antagonist. We adults always find ourselves in the grey area, pitting one "good" or "lesser evil" against another.
Geeman
Posted: Saturday, February 16, 2013 5:48:21 PM

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Taliesin ap Elphin wrote:
I'm just curious to see what you all think about this. I was reading an article that stated that scientists are beginning to say that a newborn baby is no different than a fetus, because it cannot truly think yet. So, from that perspective, a person would feel guilt-free of "aborting" that newborn. That made me curious as to what you all believed. When do you think life begins?

I don't think people are truly human until their higher brain functions develop and are employed, but I don't think I'd agree that there is no difference between a newborn and a fetus simply because the newborn is further along in the development stage towards becoming human. A newborn is more human than a fetus simply by merit of becoming closer to using those higher brain functions.
Tovarish
Posted: Saturday, February 16, 2013 6:59:31 PM
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and if they dont achieve a higher deverloped scale?

Are we talking about, when Legal Life begins or life begins?
Epiphileon
Posted: Saturday, February 16, 2013 8:33:57 PM

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Just be glad the criteria is not, when do homo sapiens progeny become human, we'd all be at risk.
Then again, maybe that is being decided in an ET court right now.

otherwise, I do not really understand how governments assume to tell women what to do with their bodies.
If it ios going to be legislated though, I like Thar's description in this thread.

I would also think that the progression is more along the lines of fetus, neonate, child. With the criteria for child being the formation of the I of mind. Not that, that would be easily discernible.
Geeman
Posted: Saturday, February 16, 2013 9:32:14 PM

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Tovarish wrote:
and if they dont achieve a higher deverloped scale?

Are we talking about, when Legal Life begins or life begins?

If they don't develop higher order intelligence then they aren't human. It can work pretty well as a legal definition of life, though I don't think it has ever before that I know of. Effectively, it's the reverse version of the end of life scenario. Once higher order intelligence is gone, one need not be concerned about "murder" as it is no longer really a human being in the sense that we need be concerned about.

In my view, human is, by definition, the function of higher order intelligence. Of course, it's pretty difficult to come up with a scenario for how that couldn't happen entirely in a newborn....
For the beginning of life it gets a little more complicated as we're dealing with an uknowable, but highly probable future, but I'd suggest that it is still the higher order intelligence that we should focus on as the meaningful standard for human life.
Tovarish
Posted: Saturday, February 16, 2013 10:32:38 PM
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Back to my first post, isn't breathing the definition of singular life?

Potential intelligence is an unknown.

I am finding it difficult to perceive the original thread to reality.

You cant abort a newborn for it would be murder of a human being.

I once read a question to agonize over a 'What would you Do" in these circumstances.

It went along the lines of 'all the previous children had died in infancy, parents suffering a disability etc etc'

If you said you would abort the unborn child, the answer was 'you have just killed Beethoven'

We are not God, who says a life is of no value?
Ray41
Posted: Sunday, February 17, 2013 12:23:45 AM

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To quote Epi; Just be glad the criteria is not, when do homo sapiens progeny become human, we'd all be at risk. How true Epi,Applause

Also Geeman;
If they don't develop higher order intelligence then they aren't human.That is definitely indisputable. It can work pretty well as a legal definition of life, though I don't think it has ever before that I know of. Effectively, it's the reverse version of the end of life scenario. Once higher order intelligence is gone, one need not be concerned about "murder" as it is no longer really a human being in the sense that we need be concerned about.

In my view, human is, by definition, the function of higher order intelligence. Of course, it's pretty difficult to come up with a scenario for how that couldn't happen entirely in a newborn....
************************************************************************************************************************
A dog gives birth to pups, still just young dogs, a cat to kittens, still just young cats, a horse to foals, still just young horses, and so on through the animal world.

We are primarily homo sapien[just a higher form of animal] so we give birth to what ever you want to call young homo sapien.Think
As the young of animals grow they are still dogs, cats, horses, etc.
As homo sapiens grow, they, through their supposedly higher intelligence, acquire an understanding of greater magnitude which gives them the ability/potential to become 'human'.

When conception has taken place, a dog is deemed to be in pup, a cat to be in kitten and a horse to be in foal.
Equally when a homo sapien conceives, the female is 'with child', gives birth to a child (baby) who, given the right environment and nurturing will grow into an adult homo sapien,(hopefully with human characteristics).

My assumption is that acquiring human status is not a forgone conclusion. We have constant reminders of man/woman's inhumanity to his/her] fellow men/women.
It is therefore possible that the the progeny of homo sapien may never reach the status of being 'human'.

Aborting a fetus, for no just cause, is killing a life that has already begun.


There are many valid reasons for abortion and many abortions that cannot be validated.
So, Taliesin ap Elphin, like Hope, I believe that life begins at conception, just as a plant begins life when the seed has started germination.


Geeman
Posted: Sunday, February 17, 2013 1:06:10 AM

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Tovarish wrote:
Back to my first post, isn't breathing the definition of singular life?

Potential intelligence is an unknown.

I am finding it difficult to perceive the original thread to reality.

You cant abort a newborn for it would be murder of a human being.

I once read a question to agonize over a 'What would you Do" in these circumstances.

It went along the lines of 'all the previous children had died in infancy, parents suffering a disability etc etc'

If you said you would abort the unborn child, the answer was 'you have just killed Beethoven'

We are not God, who says a life is of no value?

Taking a breath is one marker, I suppose, though I'm not quite sure where that would put us on babies that are premature or who have other health issues and can't breathe on their own. They are "born" but would not actually be alive yet if taking a breath is the standard.

There's kind of a broad gray area here where I think we can say someone has the qualities of being alive and human, but may not actually tick all the boxes. That is, there might be at least three criteria off the top of my head that would qualify as "alive" in the sense I think you're getting at. Higher order intelligence, the ability to survive without life support, existence outside the womb. There are probably a few other things people might want to include. Some folks might suggest that a heartbeat is an indicator of "life" on some sort of level. Others might suggest that neural activity (rather than my more stringent higher order intelligence) is enough.

But I think it's important to note that human life probably exists even if one or more of those things is suspended. That is, we wouldn't call someone in a deep coma not human anymore, and someone whose heart has stopped is still worth heroic measures to revive most other things being equal. Similarly, we'd probably recognize a potentiality for humanity when it comes to when human life begins to some extent. However, exactly where that potential becomes reasonable isn't really clear.

So, taking a breath seems like as good a criteria amongst the others as any, as long as it is understood that such a thing doesn't mean that between birth and that first spank from the doctor, a newborn isn't actually human yet simply for not having taken that breath.
Tovarish
Posted: Sunday, February 17, 2013 1:33:37 AM
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It really is a jumble of Morality and Law GM, we know a baby is a life form from conception through to birth.

However the Law does not say so, for a baby miscarrying before 9 months does not get a name, a funeral and in most cases a burial plot,

as a new born baby would.

Parents will morn the loss of the child before birth, but that unborn baby will not get the same recognition a baby would get had she/he taken a breath.

This is a sad topic.
Luftmarque
Posted: Sunday, February 17, 2013 7:31:17 AM

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In the absence of a link to the article that the original poster refers to, we have been left to our own devices to decide what this topic is about. I gathered from the original post that he was criticizing some "scientific" attitude or opinion on the status of a developing human at various stages. My post emphasized that science is of no use in determining abortion law, since it can describe various characteristics that we may or may not agree are sufficient to consider an organism an independent, legally vested person, but cannot provide any guidance as to how or why to come to an agreement on that question. And that, therefore, appeals to science by either side in the debate are futile and we are left with the need to work out legal/philosophical/religious compromises. A good way to start is to charitably acknowledge the legitimacy and validity of the other side's feelings and concerns, and assume their best intentions. Bottom line: arguing about beliefs about abortion/human life is unhelpful, discussion of the practical consequences of legal permissions/restrictions of abortion is the only way to proceed.
RubyMoon
Posted: Sunday, February 17, 2013 8:10:44 AM
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The OP's question may be related to This Article
Luftmarque
Posted: Sunday, February 17, 2013 8:32:25 AM

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RubyMoon wrote:
The OP's question may be related to This Article

Wow! That is certainly unhelpful! Assuming the article is genuine (and I could not find any reference to it at Snopes.com) these must be the least emotionally connected scientists in the world. They have dragged the most rarefied philosophical speculations on "personhood" into the spotlight of the media arena, where sensationalism reigns supreme and careful consideration of "the other"'s viewpoint is non-existent. They have valid philosophical points, but to rub them in people's noses as if they were provable facts, or a proper basis for legislation is…words fail me. Needless to say, I do not endorse the viewpoints expressed in this article (or at least the version of viewpoints created by the reporter's article)!

Here is the original article in the Journal of Medical Ethics. Always best to go to the source, I say.
After-Birth Abortion: Why Should the Baby Live?

Just read the original, and, as usual, the reportage was more sensationalistic than necessary, simplifying the authors' argument to sell the newspaper. Still don't agree with the JME article's conclusions, but it is logical and in the tradition of a respectable philosophical thread that I personally find fascinating, "personhood." My disagreement with it is in what it leaves out of the discussion, but the authors were not obliged to present everything on the subject, just a reasoned discussion of one aspect. There's a bunch of commentaries on the JME site, I'll check those out next.

The response from a Catholic theologian puts it much better than I could:
Concern for Our Vulnerable Prenatal and Neonatal Children: A Brief Reply to Giubilini and Minerva by Charles C. Camosy, Asst. Prof. of Theology @ Fordham University.
Tovarish
Posted: Sunday, February 17, 2013 5:23:33 PM
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I know people with a disability who contribute far more to society than some so called 'normal' people.

To concede the point that a person with an accepted syndrome is a potential After-Birth-Abortion candidate is the most morally unjust idea I

have ever heard.

A mother who could agree to a post birth abortion would be at the very heart of why a new born child should be taken away from her, whether she

has thoughts of reunification in a later more lucid day or not.

So hypothetically you have a baby with Cystic Fibrosis, the baby may be a financial or emotional burden, put pressure on the family or marriage?

Well welcome to parenthood, no one said it was easy.

This is not a very long reach to selective breeding of the human race.

Thank you Luft for posting the original.
Hope2
Posted: Sunday, February 17, 2013 5:55:13 PM

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I have seen studies that prove that very young babies understand a lot more than we think. Just because they cannot express themselves to us verbally, does not mean they are not thinking and feeling - just as animals think and feel but cannot express themselves to us.

Babies tell us what they are feeling with the only means they have. They cry. And a mother soon figures out what different cries mean.

Using the rationalization that babies can't think as an excuse for late stage abortion is hogwash. If there are no legit reasons, then forget it.
Tovarish
Posted: Sunday, February 17, 2013 6:35:50 PM
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I cringed with the line ' may take up to 2 days for a decision to be made'.

What happens to the baby while this process is discussed?
Luftmarque
Posted: Sunday, February 17, 2013 6:46:59 PM

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Tovarish wrote:
I cringed with the line ' may take up to 2 days for a decision to be made'.
What happens to the baby while this process is discussed?

It's mind-boggling when you start to think about the practical implications.

Tovarish
Posted: Sunday, February 17, 2013 8:45:14 PM
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What is fashionable at the moment????

Boy babies are more popular today, with hazel eyes??-----Blondes with blue eyes have been done before, so not that!

Now what about height, 6' plus of course, we wouldn't want a vertically challenged baby now would we?

Hearing and eye sight may take a little longer to determine, so how long should we keep this one on hold?????


This is the subject of 'the mad scientist' not rational people.
Absurdicuss
Posted: Sunday, February 17, 2013 11:54:14 PM
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Imagine the stunning announcement from NASA that a single spore had been discovered on Mars.

The world's headlines might proclaim "Discovery of Martian Spore Proves Universe Teeming with LIFE".

No expense would be spared in the careful transport of this NEW LIFE form back to earth.

It would be hailed and hallowed around the world. Millions would clamor for the slightest photographic glimpse of this NEW LIFE form.

This spore would garner more praise & attention than all of the babies in the history of her-manity.

Y'all see where this is going.

What chills me to the core as I consider all but very few of the posts in this thread is the absence of reverence for human life.

I am not a viable life form, because I require a constant supply of breathable air, water and food. I am not fully human because there are millions who's higher brain functions far exceed mine.

I am not a viable life form or fully human until my brain function meets a man made threshold of viability?

The value of life is based upon potential future contributions to society as in the Beethoven example?

These questions can be distilled down to one of two worldview choices:

Either God made all that is, seen & unseen or it made itself. There are no other options. HE made it an easy choice.

The sheer folly of self assembly of nonliving chemicals into to even the most primitive biological forms has been and continues to be the inescapable truth for which evolution has yet to evolve an answer.

Evolution is no more science than Christianity and every bit as much a religious conviction based on faith in it's tenets.



Every position voiced here flows out of a suppositional belief in ultimate origins. That too is inescapable.

Luftmarque
Posted: Monday, February 18, 2013 6:53:45 AM

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Though it is rare, once in a while someone actually does change his mind as a result of a discussion on TFD. After re-reading Concern for Our Vulnerable Prenatal and Neonatal Children: A Brief Reply to Giubilini and Minerva I find that I must abandon the "personhood" argument with respect to abortion. Not that I'm heading down to Planned Parenthood to protest with the Catholics—the pragmatic arguments against criminalizing abortion will suffice to keep me on the "pro-choice" side. But I am forced to concede that dragging "personhood" into it does entail infanticide and can segue into a "lives not worth living" argument. Neither of which I can stomach.
Luftmarque
Posted: Monday, February 18, 2013 2:06:16 PM

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Tovarish wrote:
I once read a question to agonize over a 'What would you Do" in these circumstances.
It went along the lines of 'all the previous children had died in infancy, parents suffering a disability etc etc'
If you said you would abort the unborn child, the answer was 'you have just killed Beethoven'

That's not an argument, because all you have to do is change "Beethoven" to "Hitler" and you get quite a different moral from the story.

Sorry if the mention of Hitler invokes the "as soon as somebody brings Hitler into it the thread is dead rule."
Absurdicuss
Posted: Monday, February 18, 2013 5:27:43 PM
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HAHAHA...laughs out loud ! That is capital H,A, funny bro!. Not derisively but genuinely humorous that you are the one to mention that unmentionable name here.

These adjustments are all part of evolving to achieve maximum hermanity.
Jyrkkä Jätkä
Posted: Monday, February 18, 2013 5:39:51 PM

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Have a look at the child and maternal mortality rates,
and the abortion laws, in all the countries.
Absurdicuss
Posted: Wednesday, February 20, 2013 5:07:21 PM
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Would someone please read my Martian scenario post and present a valid argument to refute the premise?
Otherwise I shall be compelled to send all of you...and there's really not that many active in my circle of interest...individual posts congratulating you for seeing things my way.


cheers, Ab
Luftmarque
Posted: Thursday, February 21, 2013 10:51:47 AM

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Absurdicuss wrote:
These questions can be distilled down to one of two worldview choices:
Either God made all that is, seen & unseen or it made itself. There are no other options. HE made it an easy choice.

Lurking in this seemingly binary choice are infinite worlds of shading, many colored by one's definition of "God" as under discussion elsewhere in TFD. I could, for example, say that my definition of God is equivalent to quantum indeterminacy and agree with both premises. Maybe I do!

Absurdicuss wrote:
The sheer folly of self assembly of nonliving chemicals into to even the most primitive biological forms has been and continues to be the inescapable truth for which evolution has yet to evolve an answer.

There are plenty of hypotheses that put the lie to "sheer folly" whether or not they are veridical. While the earliest formulations of "the clay hypothesis" have been superseded (like many formulations of evolution itself†), that doesn't mean that the general idea is incoherent—it may be wrong, but sheer folly it is not. Case in point: Life Could Have Evolved in Armoured Clay Bubbles. Besides, I would think that a monotheist committed to the principle that "God breathed life into dirt" would find any form of The Clay Hypothesis a welcome development in science.

Absurdicuss wrote:
Evolution is no more science than Christianity and every bit as much a religious conviction based on faith in it's tenets.

This I must categorically deny: religion and science are completely orthogonal, with only the tiniest point of intersection. There is no scientific method in religion, and probabilistic considerations of likely explanations for physical phenomena have nothing in common with religious faith. Nothing. In my never humble opinion, only those who, for some reason, most likely literalism, feel that their faith is challenged by science would ever think there was a need to try to defend religion by reason, logic, or pseudo-science.

† That earlier formulations can be superseded in a principled manner is itself a critical difference between science and religion.
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